surinenglish

Another sad record

Something's not quite right when you lose count of the times you use the word 'record' when talking about meteorology. The weather is providing us with headlines, but also apprehension. Year after year Malaga reaches a new milestone, and since the start of the 21st century the process has accelerated. This can't be natural or normal and, in fact, it isn't. Common sense tells us that, and so do the meteorologists and the scientists studying global warming. So many broken records are leading to our downfall.

Last weekend's storm has already earned its place in environmental history books. At this rate, the next weather front is likely to take its place on the throne. The downpour brought, according to the Aemet met office, the heaviest rainfall ever to be recorded in the city of Malaga, literally chucking down 87 millimetres in just one hour. This volume of water and hail even beat the record set on the day of the famous floods in 1989.

Since the rainfall statistics were first gathered with the current precision, 36 years ago, the city has never seen such heavy rain.

The record has been beaten in other parts of the province however, all the cases being in the 21st century (2007, 2012 and 2016). At the beginning of December we saw serious flooding on the Costa del Sol, a situation that has been more frequent in recent years. The increase in extreme rainfall is one of the main consequences that researchers at the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been predicting for years. But let's get back to our situation.

Every record, be it for rain or heat, is quickly beaten by another. Aemet tells us that 2016 was the hottest year ever in Malaga with an average temperature of 19.8 degrees. The agency's climate forecasts say that the average temperature could have increased by four degrees by 2100. Perhaps your grandchildren will live to see it, if they don't get washed away in the floods before that.

But there's something worse than losing count of so many sad records: realising that nobody, not on a citizen or political level, is really taking it seriously, like a postmodern version of the boy who cried wolf on a permanent loop.

At the end of the day it's quite a lot cheaper to patch things up than try to change the lifestyle habits of a society that has its days numbered.